Turkey and the US have agreed to continue talks to resolve the issue over the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
According to a statement, representatives of the Turkish and US defense ministries held a meeting in the capital Ankara, in which they also discussed financial issues.
In 2019, Washington announced that it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 program over Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system.
Read more: Present and Future of the American F-35
Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO systems and pose no threat to the alliance or its armaments.
Ankara also repeatedly proposed setting up a commission to clarify the issue.
Turkey, US discuss regional security
The top defense officials of Turkey and the US held a phone call on Wednesday, according the Turkish authorities.
Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd James treated bilateral and regional defense and security issues, said the Turkish National Defense Ministry.
#Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program has been finalised as of Sept. 23, Pentagon says. The talks between U.S. and Turkish officials are now in the format of a “dispute resolution”, which will primarily tackle the issue of what to do with Ankara’s prior payment to the program. pic.twitter.com/7wt8WM69hy
— Hümeyra Pamuk (@humeyra_pamuk) October 27, 2021
The conversation also focused on steps towards establishing a positive agenda before the planned meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden.
Armed with drones
National drones have done much to promote Turkey’s rise as a regional power in 2020, according to an American political scientist.
“The country has developed its own domestic drones and has used them to devastating effect in several recent military conflicts: Libya, Syria, in the Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and in the fight against the PKK [terrorist group] inside its own borders,” Francis Fukuyama wrote in an article that he penned Monday for American Purpose magazine.
Read more: Use of Turkish drones not allowed, Russia warns Ukraine
“In the process, it has elevated itself to being a major regional power broker with more ability to shape outcomes than Russia, China, or the United States,” Fukuyama continued.
He noted that the effectiveness of Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drones and the Anka-S unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) was first demonstrated beyond Turkey’s borders in Syria in March 2020, when they were deployed in retaliation to an attack that martyred 36 Turkish troops by the Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by Russia.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk